Saturday, 28 February 2009

Friday, 27 February 2009

40::3 Provision

Being cabin-bound for the last couple of days has made me so grateful for wood in the shed and food in the cupboards. But life isn't always easy and not all Highland folks have provision. If you live locally, this organisation is well worth supporting.
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Thursday, 26 February 2009

40::2 Surviving

Me and the boys are pretty unwell today. No journey outdoors, no journey inwards. Just...surviving.
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Wednesday, 25 February 2009

40 Days Begin Here - A Certain Sort of Silence 40::1

Easter is on its way...40 days to go, but the pancakes have been eaten and a journey is about to begin. Hmm, Lent... I'm not a great fan of giving up chocolate (as if, ha ha!), so that won't be happening. I didn't grow up with any concept of Lent at all, but it's growing on me, year on year. Easter is such a very beautiful time of the year - in many ways. Nature goes crazy and everything starts budding and singing and hatching. Energy returns after the darkness of winter. I become creative and busy with a hundred ideas. The days grow long. Life gets drawn out of its' cocoon. But it goes so much deeper than that for me. In terms of my spirit, it is a call to walk again with Jesus. To enter into something of the mystery of his death and resurrection, letting it touch me more deeply. My life's experiences echo this season of the year - my mother died at Eastertime, my smallest son was born two years later, as the daffodils poked their way up out into the sunshine...

To me, the journey of Lent towards Easter, is a road of love and loss, life taken and new life given, pain and forgiveness, solitude and community, darkness and light, and especially rather than tritely giving up sticky buns or whatever, I am going try to focus on some of these themes with a picture or two each day during the next 40 days. I won't be writing too much, as I'm going inward, not outward, on my journey. I promise though, they won't all be pictures of flowers! But photos of a certain sort of silence...

Now, this looks like a non sequiter, and it isn't one of my 40 days pictures! It's not my usual kind of a make, but was from a pattern I found in a library book. She seemed to be required to be made and she'll be winging her way out of here soon. She has a special job to do, for another sweet brunette.

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Friday, 20 February 2009

Bring me Sunshine...

It's true, that about this time of the year, the Highlands can be both bleak and a tiny bit tantalising. Last week a foot of snow, then Tuesday a balmy 11 degrees, which led to three hours in the garden - and finding the first crocus - and then today, back to frrreeeezing cold. Retreat back in! And happily, there is spring everywhere indoors just now...

Another bit of spring sunshine today was the discovery of the the blogs of two very local lassies - making seriously impressive art & craft - hats off (briefly, it's a bit chilly) to you both! Check them out here and here. In the meantime, I'm off to the fireside for a bit of knitting...
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Thursday, 19 February 2009

A Week of Celebrations

Well, forgive an absence of several days but this has been some week on the celebratory front! We went out for a lovely meal on Valentine's Day (Peter and Robin, do you remember last year :) ?!) then it was straight into preparing for a Big Day - the birthday of my dearest hubby. The boys were extremely excited about it and I have to say, did really well keeping all the secrets! They even feared I might spill the beans "Shhh, don't tell, Mum!"

In our house, it is almost illegal to not have at least one handmade present (I think I get the better part of the deal being married to a silversmith!) So this year, the boys made their papa some Porridge with Honey Soup - I will post a how-to for it sometime as my MIL wants to know and it was easy peasy - except one small boy kept trying to lick his spoon - too much like flapjacks I suppose. We tried some lavender too, but it came out looking rather vile - a little too much enthusiasm with the colouring, ahem. Still, Papa was very gracious about it.
This was one of my handmade gifts - a little wool and linen wrap filled with writing things and some of my photos made into postcards....

And a book of stickers, all from this lovely company. So, you may find some winging your way!

But presents are not the only ingredients for a good celebration. As Derek Thain of L'Arche Inverness says, birthdays are about saying 'thank you' that a person was born. So birthday prayers and blessings are a vital ingredient, and saying what we love about that person.

Of course, a party is most important, and the boys were there to make sure we had all the neccesary balloons, flags, flowers, candles etc. And a cake! Well, I'm not sure quite what happened this year, I'm usually pretty good at making a mean chocolate cake, but this year - it came out a little...thin. And of course, no cocoa etc left to make another one in time. But hey, a good layer of cream and raspberries (hence the rather alarming pink colour - but DH isn't too worried about such things) and all was well. And our Polish friend Ania came up trumps with this amazing cardamom cake - I totally love cardamom, it's definitely my favourite spice. So with two cakes in hand we were saved.

It was also the birthday of my youngest nephew this week, pictured here in France a year or two back - he's even bigger now. Can I just say that he has the best ever insult - "Cold Carrot", I mean, how offensive can you get? We did slightly forget to get his birthday package in the post on time - but our local post office is only open Thursdays 2-4 pm. Honestly. We still love him. I have suggested he might like to move his birthday to March next year, as there is just too much going on in February for him to get the attention he deserves.

And lastly, but not least, today is the birthday of Jackie, a fellow member of L'Arche, who showed me what it really means to be a truly beautiful woman.

Phew, almost at the end of this mega posting, but just to let you know that I have taken over the administration of the L'Arche blog which will now be coming out of a wee patch of hibernation. You can get our news and pictures here:

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Saturday, 14 February 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Three little love birds for my three favourite chaps...a bit of wonderful nonsense. It's not often I see something and think I HAVE to make that now. But these wee creatures totally seduced me. Thanks mollychicken for a great pattern! They went down a storm at breakfast time, although they did appear to be showing some less than loving behaviour towards one another...ah well, welcome to the family.

Valentine's Day is a load of commercial rubbish really, but we send buckets of love to all the other members of the flock everywhere. May your day be filled with at very least, warm hugs and some really decent chocolate.
Today we also celebrate 9 years as members of L'Arche, so extra big love for all you lovely people!
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Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Home is where a nice hot cuppa is

If the kitchen is the heart of a home, then surely tea is the warm blood pumping through it. Anyone who has ever spent more than a few moments with L'Arche Inverness, will know that a cup of tea will not be long in making an appearance. Followed usually by a second. In fact, very little happens without the aid of nice hot cuppa to smooth things along, embodying hospitality, refreshment and community.

But cold tea? Oh yuk. Anyone who knows me even a little, will know that I am dreadful in the morning, slow to wake and reluctant to leave my nice warm nest. My dear husband wisely rouses me by placing a lovely mug of tea by the bed. He knows that I hate cold tea even more than getting up. And so, instead of drifting back to sleep, I can be induced to action (well, movement, let's not go crazy here) by the thought that my tea will get cold if I don't prop myself up and make a little effort.

Just the one cup? Oh I don't think so. A teabag can stretch much further than that. BUT, you don't want the pot to go cold. So, when not out building igloos and so on (snow is still here and it is very cold indeed), I have been snatching some moments to head for the sewing machine. I love making quilts, but you can't stay under them all the time - so next best, a patchwork tea cosy. It makes the transition from bed to breakfast table so much more gentle. And perfect for using up all those scraps.

Oh hot tea, I do love you!

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Sunday, 8 February 2009

The More it Snows, Tiddley Pom

The ruler has been back out on the picnic table, the car has been dug out several times, the snowplough keeps passing, the sun comes out, goes in and then it snows - again. Heaps of it, piles of it, masses of the stuff, like giant souffl├ęs everywhere.

We have food, we have wood and the house is made cosy by its' big duvet. We can sit this out if need be. The roads are clear enough (when we can get to them), but it is just a tiny bit worrisome driving under trees that are sagging and breaking with the weight of the white stuff.

Oh, but who cares, it's so unexpected and so wonderful. More please!

And after all, it does give Monsieur Featherglen a chance to dust down his igloo building skills.

We even had our 2nd picnic of the year; hot tea, oatcakes, apples and chocolate, sitting around the construction sight, on comfy mounds of snow, in glorious sunshine - this kind of thing doesn't happen round here too often!

Thank you.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Almost a Foot

Well! When was the last time you woke to a foot (almost) of snow? Especially if you live on this side of the English Channel/North Sea/Atlantic etc. It almost never happens. I think I was 13 the last time, which obviously wasn't that long ago, really. Anyway, no apologies for loads of photos, we can't get enough of this much snow...

There was no chance of getting to school or work (oh shame!), so we had the sledges loaded up and out we went...

Thank you Peter for the skis - isn't this typical, you go back to Slovakia, land of mountains and snow, and Scotland gets it's best snowfall in 20 years? We also discovered the local winter snow sport (as invented by our neighbours), a sort of Poor Man's Snowboarding - standing while sledging.... I'd like to say that it was fun at the time, but it does hurt quite a lot now!

Remember my stile from last week?

If this is a bad winter, we'll have lots more of it please.

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